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June 20, 2010

Livestock hauler

Improving Welfare,
Reducing Losses on the Road

North American livestock industry needs its own science on which to base guidelines for humane hauling and transport.

How many hours do cattle spend on a truck when transported? What are the average load densities when animals are transported? How long are they off feed and water? What's the percentage of downed, injured or dead cattle that result from transportation?

ISBCWThe answers to those questions could help the North American cattle industry establish guidelines for humane animal hauling and transport — but very little data has been collected related to cattle transportation. Thus, Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, has embarked on a large study in Alberta to begin benchmarking some of that information.

Genswein shared her initial research findings May 20 during the International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare hosted by Kansas State University's Beef Cattle Institute. Read more.

Mathew Printz

Mathew Printz

Association Perspective

It's been a record year for bull sales in Region 13.

Now that it is well into spring and the primary bull-selling season for 2010 is behind us, one has to wonder what made bull sales in the Central Plains so strong. Just like the "Perfect Storm," I think many factors occurring simultaneously contributed to this result.

I have witnessed years when sale season started strong but eventually the momentum was trumped by market conditions, oversupply relative to demand, or just plain old bad weather. I've also seen the opposite, where sales staggered in the winter and strengthened with the prospect of a wet year, green grass and a general improvement of attitude. So, when sales in mid-January started out at a record pace, although exciting, the realist in me kept secretly thinking there was no way that kind of momentum could continue. But it did. Read more.

2010 BIF Conference

What’s Inside …

In this June edition of the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, you'll find valuable articles devoted to the management, marketing, and health and nutrition of your beef enterprise. Select from the tabs at the top of the page to access this month's entire offering by category. A few select features include:

Tips for Grazing Alfalfa

Beef Talk: Is the time right for breeding systems?

Keep Livestock Away from Poison Hemlock

Dealing with Snakebite

Threshold to Profit

The Source

In the Cattle Markets

2010 Nationa Angus Conference & Tour

News Briefs …

The American Angus Association and its subsidiaries generate a wealth of information to keep members and affiliates informed of what's happening within the industry as well as with the programs and services they offer. Click here for easy access to a summary of recent news and links to the newsrooms of the American Angus Association and Certified Angus Beef LLC and the Angus e-List archive.

Food Safety Needs Team Approach

K-State scientist says educating consumers about food handling, cooking would boost safety.

Kansas State University (K-State) meat scientist James Marsden says he hears it over and over again — there's a need to better educate consumers about proper food handling and cooking. Such an effort could go a long way in minimizing the risk of foodborne illness.

"Ideally, food manufacturers should reduce the risk of foodborne pathogens, even in raw foods, to minimize consumer risk," says Marsden, who is a regent's distinguished professor in K-State's Department of Animal Science and Industry. "Consumers can certainly reduce that risk further by following safe food handling practices and proper cooking." Read more.

Slaughter Availability

USDA identifies gaps, releases maps detailing U.S. local meat processing facilities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a preliminary study May 25 revealing existing gaps in the regional food systems regarding the availability of slaughter facilities to small meat and poultry producers. The study by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a first attempt to identify areas in the United States where small-scale livestock and poultry producers are concentrated but may not have access to a nearby slaughter facility. Read more.

Your Health
Score One for Grain-fed Beef

Study shows ground beef from grain-fed cattle more beneficial in protecting against cardiovascular disease.

Grass-fed beef may not have the health advantage some perceive, according to results from a recent Texas AgriLife Research study. Stephen Smith, an AgriLife Research meat scientist, and a team of researchers have found that contrary to popular perception, ground beef from pasture-fed cattle had no beneficial effects on plasma lipid compared to ground beef from grain-fed cattle.

However, high-monounsaturated-fat ground beef from grain-fed cattle increased HDL cholesterol and increased LDL particle diameters, both of which are protective against cardiovascular disease, and decreased insulin, suggesting that ground beef produced by intensive production practices provides "a healthful, high-quality source of protein." Read more.

Attacking Antibiotic Resistance on a New Front

Genetic screening technique can detect more than 700 antimicrobial-resistance genes.

Using an advanced genetic screening technique, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and cooperators have detected, for the first time, more than 700 genes that give microbes like Salmonella and E. coli the ability to resist antibiotics and other antimicrobial compounds.

The researchers used what is called DNA microarray technology to find the resistance genes in a wide variety of bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria and Enterococcus, among others. These organisms can cause food poisoning and are thus a major public health concern.

Researchers are concerned that some of these organisms have acquired genetic resistance to the antibiotics used to kill them. Finding the genes that confer resistance is an important step for scientists looking for new ways to control these organisms. Read more.

Will Genotyping Get More Affordable?

fluidigm arrayCompany commits new product line to support USDA ARS's "penny-per-data-point" goal for high sample throughput genotyping.

Fluidigm Corp. June 8 announced it has developed the world's first reusable bio-chip architecture for the commercial market. These reusable integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) will dramatically lower SNP genotyping costs and are designed to support accelerated sample throughput while maintaining data quality of 99.75% or greater accuracy, and 99% or greater call rates.

The architecture was initially invented to support a progressive new program driven by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program's goal is to drive high sample throughput genotyping down to a penny per data point, which would enable widespread adoption of genetic analysis in vegetable and fruit seeds, livestock, and fishery management. This will significantly improve the quality and quantity of the food supply, while lowering production costs. Read more.


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